Whether they win, lose, or draw, beauty queens go down different routes after a pageant has concluded. Most head into show business head-on, while others try their hand at newly-discovered passions. For Miss Universe-Philippines Tourism 2021, Katrina Dimaranan, her post-pageant plans meant trading in her gowns and sashes for scrubs and textbooks.
"Becoming a nurse was not always my dream, but what I am passionate about is helping others," she tells Preview. While strutting on stage may be a far cry from assisting patients at a hospital, Katrina strongly thinks that it's the path she's meant to go down on at this point in her life. In an exclusive interview, she opens up about what pushed her to enroll, how school's going so far, and why she thinks it's not too late for her to do so.
Why Katrina Dimaranan pursued nursing school at 28
Even before she headed to the Philippines for the pageant, Katrina already had her eyes set on stepping into the nurses ward. After her impressive podium finish at Miss Universe PH, she went back to the US and immediately got some exciting news. "I received an email from a nursing program saying that I got in! For those who are not aware, in the US, it is very hard to get into a nursing program on your first attempt at applying. I was so ecstatic and almost cried. What were the chances that right after my pageant dreams ended, I get into a nursing school I applied to?" she recounts.
Always one to be a shoulder to lean on, Katrina saw to it that being a medical practitioner would be a new way for her to be there for others. Taking care of her late grandmothers also inspired her to take on this role. "I remember the time when both of my grandmas were ill and my family and I had to take care of them. I sometimes wished I knew more about nursing so I could’ve taken better care of them when they were still on this Earth."
She also had experience working for O Skin Med Spa, a dermatology clinic in the States centered on "instilling confidence and uplifting others." This facet of nursing piqued Katrina's interest, and it encouraged her even more to try her hand at it. "The beauty of the nursing profession is how diverse it is. One day, I can be helping a patient in the ICU recover and get back on their feet, and the next, be in the position of making one look and feel beautiful in their own skin," she puts it.
Katrina owes her experiences as a beauty queen for opening her mind to what else she can do. According to her, one of the reasons why women join pageants is "for us to be able to showcase to people that anyone can achieve anything they put their minds into through hard work, dedication and a strong will." Right now, what she wants to achieve is to have "RN" (Registered Nurse) placed at the end of her name.
As much as she's living the dream though, she gets real, and admits that the nursing program has been tough. One can imagine the pressures that come with learning things that will actually be applied to people who are in need of aid. She even expressed this academics-related stress in a funny TikTok video.
Through it all though, she couldn't feel more fulfilled. "Hearing my patients and their families thank me, and seeing them smile makes me forget about all of the stress that came with learning. I am blessed to have many friends and family who are also nurses give me their advice, support, and love in my journey," she says. Becoming a "compassionate, caring, and still fun" #FutureNurseKat is something she's definitely not going to give up on easily—so much so, that no naysayers can stop her either.
Katrina Dimaranan responds to netizen implying she's too old for school
In response to a TikTok user who made a condescending comment about her back-to-school stint, Katrina confidently stated that, "I'm 28 years old? Yes. Am I a nursing student? Yes. Have I accomplished many things in my life? Yes!" She firmly believes that one's age or stature in life should never be a hindrance to them going for their aspirations. "Don't let your age ever define where you're supposed to be in life, because it does not define you," she says matter-of-factly.
Her advice for anyone thinking of pursuing a new dream of theirs echoes this sentiment. "Look at all of the wonderful people who have gracefully followed their dreams in later ages in life, and how abundant and successful they are after reaching those goals! Life is about growing and with growth comes learning! Learning never stops at any age!"
"Always remember, it is never too late to do whatever you please, just as long as you are happy and not harming anyone in the process of," she adds. "We all have the same number of hours in a day, so why not use it wisely and purposefully?"
Well said, Katrina! We're rooting for you!
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